The Tomboy

The Polaris Prize–winning musician mixes and matches Colombian labels with vintage men’s shirts and thrift-shop overalls. Every outfit is a zany delight

WHAT SHE’S WEARING: Head scarf from a flea market in Chile, shirt by Tennis, vintage skirt from Bridge and Bardot, shoes by Vans. Photographed at the Dufferin Mall No Frills


My fashion evolution
When I was a kid, I wanted to be a boy. They seemed free. I never understood why they could play outside without shirts on. Once, when I was 10 or 11, I was playing soccer and I took off my shirt, and one of the teachers came screaming. I didn’t get it. The other girls never invited me to their birthday parties because I was such a tomboy.

I would never wear…
The same thing as someone else. I don’t own a white T-shirt. I don’t own a pair of jeans. I just don’t believe in that uniform. The only denim item that I do have right now is a pair of overalls that I got in Kensington Market when I became pregnant. They’re oversized, so I’ll wear them right to the end.

My fashion obsession
Menswear. I pick my partner’s clothes for him because I know I’m going to wear them later. I wear his hoodies as my dresses. When my friend Bear (from A Tribe Called Red) is in town, he’ll bring me a bag of T-shirts that he doesn’t wear anymore. I’ll repurpose them as dresses. If I go to Value Village or any vintage store, I’ll go straight to the men’s section for the long-sleeve button-down shirts. I’ll pair those with a big skirt and platforms. And then I’m in heaven.

My style
Unapologetically chic. I love bright colours. It might be that I’m short and I have a Napoleon syndrome, but I also think that, as a woman, as an immigrant, it is important to take up space. Here I am, and you’re going to look at me.

My sneaker collection
I have a huge collection. I don’t have a favourite, and I like to keep it that way. When I go home to Colombia, I bring a suitcase full of sneakers and give them away to all of my relatives. Then I come back and start again. If Rihanna comes out with a shoe, like the Creepers, I’ve gotta have them. Those are just beautiful.

My favourite designers
My aunts and relatives back home in Colombia are master weavers and master embroiders, so they’ll make beautiful things for me—works of art, really. I also wear a lot of pieces by NorBlack NorWhite, a pair of Indian-Canadian designers. Their stuff is very flowy and colourful. I support as many local designers as I can. That’s where I spend my money. Other than that, I’m the girl at the mall who’s at Champs or Foot Locker.

My natural hair
Growing up in the ’90s, everyone wanted that Ginger Spice look, but I resisted. I never allowed my mom to dye my hair or do highlights. Now I have really strong, healthy hair. It’s been a journey. When I was younger I was really traumatized by the idea of having to show my natural hair, because I worried people would bully me for it.

My skin secrets
I can’t live without my coconut oil and Nivea face cream, and I use brown sugar to make natural face scrubs. On the road I swear by Kiehl’s products. Their tinted lip products are really good—cracked lips is a big issue for me.

My go-to look
It’s very minimal. And then for performing I like to look like a doll: rosy cheeks, kewpie lips. My shows are very intense, very loud. I like the idea of looking like this cute little doll that’s grunting and screaming and making fun of men. The contrast is very powerful.


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